Ervin Santana's injury proves how much Twins need another pitcher

Big League Stew
Twins pitcher <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/7547/" data-ylk="slk:Ervin Santana">Ervin Santana</a> will miss 10-12 weeks after a finger injury needed surgery. (AP)
Twins pitcher Ervin Santana will miss 10-12 weeks after a finger injury needed surgery. (AP)

There was good news and bad news Tuesday for the Minnesota Twins. First, the bad: They announced that Ervin Santana, their No. 1 starter, will be out until 10-12 weeks because of an injury to his middle finger that required surgery. The injury doesn’t just hurt the Twins’ opening-day rotation, but it makes their need of another starting pitcher much more urgent.

Now the good news: In a normal year, the free-agent market might be barren in early February, but in the frozen free agency of the 2018 baseball season, all the top free-agent pitchers are still available. That includes Yu Darvish, the top-ranked free agent who has already confirmed the Twins are one of his suitors.

Here’s the Santana announcement from the Twins, which says he had successful surgery Tuesday and that he’ll begin rehabilitation this week:


The Twins have Jose Berrios — who was impressive in 2017 — penciled in as their No. 2 starter, but after that it’s a trio of three pitchers with ERAs north of 4.50 last year in Kyle Gibson, Adalberto Mejia and Phil Hughes. The need for another starter was there before. It’s more pronounced now.

The Twins won 85 games last season and were a surprise wild-card team. While they have the young talent to build on that, the Santana injury shows that every team is one medical exam away from needing another arm.

Darvish remains the top free agent on the market — he’s No. 2 overall on Jeff Passan’s list behind Shohei Ohtani — and has previously confirmed that the Twins are one of his six finalists. While they aren’t viewed as the favorites to sign Darvish, they’re in the running. The price will matter, though, as Mike Berardino of The Pioneer Press previously reported that the Twins wouldn’t be willing to give $150 million to Darvish.


If not Darvish, Jake Arrieta (No. 5), Alex Cobb (No. 8) and Lance Lynn (No. 13) are all on the open market too. Whether it’s them or someone else, the Twins now need to do something.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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